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The Importance of Being Green for Data Centers

by on October 4, 2010

For data center operators who believe all this palaver about greening their facilities is just a fad, consider this: IT accounted for four percent of all electricity consumption in 2008, but by 2030, 40 percent of the world’s juice will lapped up by IT.

Green_IT That estimate from the International Energy Agency was used recently by Frederic Chanfrau, senior vice president of Schneider Electric, the French company that bought APC, a major maker of power management devices, to hammer home the point that energy conservation is more than just a “feel good” issue for data centers, but one with significant business and environmental consequences.

Chanfrau, delivering the keynote speech at this year’s Network World IT Roadmap conference, explained that for every unit of energy saved at the data center, three units are saved at the power plant. For every unit of energy saved at the server, six units are saved at the power plant.

At Schneider, three “Go” strategies were deployed to get a handle on energy consumption.

Go Lean.
Data centers were consolidated. Servers and storage were virtualized. Applications were consolidated.

Go Efficient.
New energy efficiency standards were applied to servers. New layout designs were applied to data centers. In-house energy efficiency solutions were developed. An energy management system was put into place.

Go Green.
New data centers were designed with connections for future inclusion of solar panels.

Chanfrau also emphasized that the first step in developing a good energy management plan is energy measurement.

Once green culture is established in an organization, he noted, it can spread beyond the data center. At Schneider, for example, the evaluation process of all IT projects includes energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction critieria. In addition, smaller considerations such as the power configurations on personal computers throughout the company were standardized to avoid power settings—like activating screensavers—that consumed power unecessarily. And when you consider that Schneider employs 116,065 people worldwide, you can see the impact that can make.

What green IT standards have you implemented in your organization? Do you support the green IT movement? And do you receive push-back from your organizzaation trying to implement green IT?

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